- 9 years ago
We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the Flag feature here on Weddingbee, so Mrs. DG asked me to take a quick minute to explain how flagging works.
1. Why should I flag something?
Flags are the quickest and simplest way to communicate a brief message to the Weddingbee moderators (between 10 and 265 characters, approximately 2-40 words). It’s a great way to mark that a post is spam, offensive, inappropriate, or otherwise needs to be evaluated by a moderator. You can use flags to let us know you think a poster might be a troll, if there are double posts that need to be deleted, or if something is in the wrong category and needs to be moved. It’s also an easy way to mention that a thread in general is exploding – just specify in your message that the whole thread needs to be evaluated.
Our moderation team is pretty small, so it’s really hard for us to keep eyes on every thread, especially as the site grows. The majority of the spam is brought to our attention by members who flag the posts.
In addition, flags give us a barometer for the way posts are being received by the community at large, rather than just our small team. Contrary to some of the conspiracy theories out there (haha), we don’t moderate the site based on our personal feelings about things – we moderate based on the reaction of the Hive – the whole hive, not just our more vocal members!
In essence, we allow the Hive to self moderate, but we are the ones who take the action, based on the flags we see. There are times when we expect to have to step in somewhere, but the situation surprises us and doesn’t get any flags – so we leave it alone. There are also times when we may agree with a poster, but if their post is offensive to a high enough percentage of the Hive, it’s our responsibility to remove or close it.
Flags are a way for you to be heard. Think something shouldn’t be allowed? Flag it! On the other hand, if you think something is awesome, flag it and tell us so! Think a post should be featured on the blog or twitter feed, or would make a great pick of the week? Flag it and we’ll let the blog team know! You can use the flag feature any time you want to send a brief message to the moderation team about a specific post.
Some members seem to think it’s a bad idea to flag, but in doing so, you’re only removing your own voice from the discussion. The more members who make a habit of flagging (positive and negative things), the more accurate read we can get on the opinions of the Hive.
2. When I flag a post, does it send the person who posted it a message?
No. Flags send a message to the site moderators, not to the person being flagged. You don’t need to worry about that person being upset with you, because they will never be told that they were flagged by you.
3. Will flagging a post automatically get it deleted? Or get the person who posted it warned?
No, not automatically. While we review every post that gets flagged, a lot of posts get a single flag, and we review them and don’t feel the need to step in. The more flags a post gets though, the more likely we are to intervene.
The only time this is not true is with spam posts, which we delete immediately. (Have you ever seen the nonsense posts about shoes or purses that have terrible grammar and random links in every tenth word? Yep – those are spam bots and we delete and block them as quickly as they’re brought to our attention!)
4. Do the moderators see who is flagging each post?
Yes. We get a report that shows who is submitting the flag, their message, and a link to the post being flagged. So if we get multiple flags on the same post from one user, we can clearly see that they’re from the same person. Occasionally we do see one member following another member around flagging everything they post, because they don’t personally like the other member. Fortunately, this is where the element of having human moderators to review the flags comes in handy.
Some forums leave everything to a computer generated program, but we choose to take the time to review the posts instead, to ensure that the flags can’t be used as a way to bully or abuse other members.
5. How many posts get flagged?
Weddingbee has hundreds of active users on any given day (more if you count those who lurk but don’t post), so it makes sense that we receive about a hundred flags every day, on all sorts of posts. As I’ve said, we review every flag, but not all warrant moderation. It’s important to remember that just because a member doesn’t post as frequently doesn’t mean they aren’t just as valued as a member of the community, or that their flags aren’t just as important. We want to keep the site friendly and welcoming to all of our visitors.
For more useful tips, tricks and information, please check out the WB Tips Tag!